Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jim Kelley at Sportsnet,
The Buzz: You can’t get Americans to watch a hockey game without dressing it up with a healthy dollop of good old fist-in-your-face violence.
The BACKHAND: For the record (and you can look it up) the highest-rated Versus Network hockey telecast ever was last week’s game between the swift-skating Buffalo Sabres and the similarly inclined Pittsburgh Penguins. The game didn’t have a single fight, almost no penalties and was a breathtaking, edge-of-your-seat affair that featured Buffalo coming back from a two-goal deficit in the closing minutes of play before Pittsburgh pulled out the win via a walk-off shootout goal from Sidney Crosby before a sellout crown in the supposedly decrepit Mellon Arena.
read on and much more Buzz & Backhand topics…
From Wayne Scanlan at CanWest News,
They are a secondary consideration to the playoff races. When the playoffs begin, they will be utterly forgotten until the Stanley Cup has been awarded. Then, the presentation of the NHL individual awards will be the last, glitzy act in a long season. Just because the focus is on team dreams at this time of year, the league's top performers haven't forgotten about the pursuit of individual honours, which involve races just as tight as those conference standings hockey fans pore over every morning.continued... with speculation on candidates for the Hart, Art Ross, Calder, etc.
from Spector at his Fox Sports Blog,
This isn’t the first time I’ve read and heard of supposed bias against the NHL’s Western Conference from hockey fans, but a closer examination of the facts suggests otherwise.
First, scheduling in terms of travel is considerably tougher for Western teams, but that’s the result of geography. All the Eastern Conference teams are within one time zone and in many cases a quick one or two hour plane trip apart.
In the West, however, the teams are spread further apart and between three time zones (central, mountain and pacific). It’s unfortunate, but not the result of any bias against them.
more.. plus, don’t forget there are two teams in the West that are in the eastern time zone…
from the Ottawa Citizen,
“He doesn’t mind talking on the bench, let’s put it that way,” said Crosby. “It’s not the first time (he has said something to me). That’s just the way it is.
“If he wants to say that I’m disrespectful to him, if he feels he wants to do that, that’s fine.
“It’s not right, but if he wants to do that, so be it.
“I didn’t speak to him until he started making gestures.
“But what I was saying was, ‘Why are you looking at me?’ There was absolutely no reason for him to be yelling at me.”
from the Vancouver Sun,
By going 15-2-2 the last six weeks and winning these recent games so impressively, dispatching Stanley Cup contenders as if they were pocket lint and treating them the way the Conservatives treat British Columbia—that annoying, foreign hinterland land west of Canada’s Rocky Mountain border—the Canucks can’t possibly be underrated by anyone any longer.
In other words, they’re doomed. What will fuel them now that they have earned everyone’s respect? They have un-dissed themselves. What now for motivation?
Well, there is that Presidents’ Trophy thingy.
Partly because the Red Wings and Predators went pointless in Vancouver, the Buffalo Sabres top the NHL standings with 101 points. The Canucks are only five behind and closing faster than Britney Spears’ career.
Vancouver Canucks. Presidents’ Trophy winners?
via the Tennessean,
The Predators are leaving no stone unturned as they seek a cure for forward Steve Sullivan.
Predators Coach Barry Trotz said the team has sought guidance and assistance from doctors both locally and across the nation. Sullivan visited a Los Angeles doctor during the team’s recent road trip to the West Coast.
“We’re doing everything from running more tests to maybe even getting some more opinions,” Trotz said. “We’re going to open every door to make sure we’re covering all our bases and getting him ready and giving him peace of mind.
“We’re trying different things — everything from scans to see if anything’s structurally wrong. It may be something as simple as an irritated nerve that causes a little bit of spasm. Or it could be natural mechanics. The way your body moves might cause pressure on a certain area that mechanically doesn’t show up on X-rays.”
from the OC Register,
Gauthier, 23, is hope on skates, inspiration in pads. Which is just what the playoff-eliminated Kings need now, even if it’s from a native Southern Californian with 12 days of NHL experience.
His Canadian-born father, Gerald, put skates on Gabe at age 4 and signed him up for a youth team at the Norwalk Ice Arena. Next, father and son were Kings season-ticket holders with Forum seats perched over the shoulder of goalie Kelly Hrudey and devotion for Wayne Gretzky, Luc Robitaille and a 1993 Stanley Cup Finals team.
Parents Gerald and Pam Gauthier watched him zip around driveway in Rollerblades firing shots and yelling “Gabe Gauthier shoots and scores!”
They woke mornings to the sound of Gabe interviewing himself, toothbrush as a microphone, in front of the bathroom mirror about his winning goal.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
Senators coach Bryan Murray is steamed at St. Louis Blues president John Davidson.
“I’m really disappointed that a comment was made about me ‘telling the truth.’ First of all, I haven’t seen the goal that everybody is talking about and I don’t think it’s my job ... I don’t referee the games and I don’t make the calls,” said Murray.
“(Davidson) had a video coach, a video goal judge in his own building and I didn’t see the replay up above.
“For him to even imply that I have to agree with anything other than the referee ... if I second-guess the referee and his integrity, then I am reprimanded by the NHL….”
from the Ottawa Citizen,
Welcome to Stephen Walkom’s nightmare.
The NHL’s director of officials was forced into damage control yesterday in the wake of a comedy of officiating errors that handed the Ottawa Senators a 4-2 victory against the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday….
First, Walkom tried to answer for the league’s video-review process, a system in which the referees, video technicians in the arenas and NHL officials at a “war room” in Toronto are supposed to work together to ensure that every controversial goal or save is reviewed thoroughly before the puck is dropped to resume play.
added 6:56am, from Ray Slover of the Sporting News,
At some point, referees have to be made accountable. The NHL has banished officials before, and no one is crying about not having Paul Stewart in stripes.
If there aren’t enough topnotch officials for the NHL, then maybe it’s time to chuck the two-referee system. Let one guy, two linesmen and video do the job. If there are enough good officials, it’s time to weed out the bad ones. And NHL supervisors in Toronto have to be accountable if they are going to review every goal or potential goal.
It’s time for officiating chief Stephen Walkom and other NHL brass to take a look at Mr. McGeough.
And maybe it’s time for Mr. McGeough, whose future is in horses, to smell what he’s shoveling.
Colton Orr of the Rangers knocked out Todd Fedoruk of the Flyers with a hard right in the opening two minutes of tonight’s game.
Fedoruk crumpled to the ice, received medical attention and a neck brace was applied. Todd was talking as he was being wheeled off the ice on a stretcher.
First report is he will have x-rays at MSG, not the hospital.
added 7:57pm, Now being taken to a local hospital after x-rays at MSG.
added 9:35pm, Video link...
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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